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Rusty Saber

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by Joe McAdoo

Time Magazine, in conjunction with CBS Television, has taken on the unenviable task of naming the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Time selected five categories, naming 20 people in each. As each new list of names is released in a "Special Edition" (translation: it's bigger than other editions and the price is higher) CBS does a documentary on the people.

The latest category is "Artists and Entertainers." Some of the choices I agree with; I'm ambivalent about some; and I disagree with others.

Using Time's list for comparison, I have named the Rusty Saber's Most Influential Entertainers of the 20th Century, in the same order as named by the magazine.

Since I don't have the luxury of a "Special Edition" this column will not be longer nor will it cost more 10 of the categories will be covered this week, the remainder next week.

Pablo Picasso, most influential artist. I agree.

Le Corbusier, architect. (Real name: Charles Edouard Jeanneret, born in Switzerland.) I believe Frank Lloyd Wright should receive a lot of consideration; however, I know very little about architects and Time presents a strong argument for Le Corbusier.

I'll go along with this one. Besides, the list needs one person with one name. This means Madonna won't be listed anywhere. Thank heavens.

Coco Chanel, designer. I'm ambivalent about the category and the person. If there must be a designer, she will do.

James Joyce, writer. This is a good choice. Since writing is bound up in individual tastes, it's hard to find a universally accepted choice. As for myself, I'd name William Faulkner or John Steinbeck; however, Time makes the point that Joyce was selected because of his profound influence on 20th century literature.

Although ambivalent, I'll go along with that. Besides, many 20th century literature professors have built their careers around trying to explain the meaning of "Ulysses" to college freshmen a daunting task. I'm for anything that keeps college professors out of unemployment lines.

T.S. Eliot, poet. I agree with this choice; but I wonder why there is no "Playwright" category to go along with "Writer" and "Poet." More about this next week.

Charlie Chaplin, comedian. Come on, Time, get real. Charlie Chaplin was a great comedic actor who wanted to be acknowledged as a serious actor. He belongs in the yet-to-come "Actor" category. Sure, he created a comic character, the Little Tramp, but he wasn't a comedian in the true sense of the word.

This is a no-brainer. One comedian's career spanned more than 60 years; he made people laugh in every medium Broadway, radio, motion pictures, television and live performances. Bob Hope is the Rusty Saber Comedian of the Century.

Steven Spielberg, movie maker. A good choice. He's probably the most influential movie maker of our time; but is he the most influential of the century? Orson Wells made "Citizen Kane," arguably the best movie ever made. Shouldn't he receive consideration?

OK, he didn't have the large body of work of Spielberg, but my choice did. Steven Spielberg notwithstanding, the Rusty Saber's choice is Alfred Hitchcock. Probably the most copied movie maker of all time, he did it without splashy special effects. His films remain hugely popular today.

Marlon Brando, actor. This is probably as good a choice as any. I have never been a Brando fan, but I agree with Time that he made a powerful impact on his craft.

Igor Stravinsky, classical musician. Again, I agree.

The Beatles, rock musicians. The Beatles were immensely talented as writers, musicians and performers. However, if influence is the criterion, Elvis Presley is the only choice. He invented rock, a cross between blues and country. Music changed immediately when he hit the scene.

There was music "pre-Elvis," Elvis and "post-Elvis"; all occurred simultaneously. One minute there was Frankie Laine, Eddie Fisher and the rest of the "pop" singers at the top of the charts; in a blink of an eye, there was Elvis. So-called pop music was changed forever. As great as they were, had there been no Elvis, there would have been no Beatles. Every rock musician, talented or otherwise, has walked in the footsteps of Elvis Presley, the Rusty Saber choice.

To be continued next week ...

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the communication department at Drury College and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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